“Many small persons, in small places, doing little things, can change the world!”

From 26 to 30 September, in the Biblical month, the 17th Youth Congress was held on the theme: “Youth with the Bible to fight for his/her dream”. It had been a precious time of formation to help the Ticuna youth who, challenging the transport difficulties, were desirous to acquire greater knowledge and to understand better the Word of God.

One simple phrase, but of great significance for the indigenous people of Ticuna, who struggle, and invest a lot of energy, talents and missionary passion to grow towards a better world, in the Church and in the society. On Amazon, from August to October is a dry period, when the rivers become the football or of volley ball ground, and the beaches of river Solimões, become dry. The land splits due to lack of water, travel, and transport of goods become difficult. But exactly this is the time that the Brazilian Church invites the communities to deepen the Word of God in the ‘Biblical month’, September, because, as St Peter says “Lord you only have the Words of eternal life” (John 6,60-69)

Responding to this Ecclesial call, the Parish of St. Francis of Assisi, at Belém of Amazonas, on the river Solimões, had organized from 26 to 30 September, the 17th Congress of youth, with the Theme “Youth with the Bible to fight for his/her dream”. The meeting was guided by the Capuchin friars, with the help of a sister of St. Catherine of Alessandria and us, the Missionary sisters of the Immaculate. About 100 Ticuna youth from various villages had participated with much enthusiasm, facing with courage the climatic difficulties. The preparation was done in advance with a Ticuna youth who understands and speaks Portuguese fluently, in a way he could be able to help better the youth to understand the theme of meetings in their native language.

These had been three days of intense Biblical formation. The study started with the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Bible, the Torah (law). The young participants were divided in groups to prepare one theatrical presentation on the theme they had deepened. The presentation of creation, the sacrifice of Isaac, the struggle of Moses to liberate the people of Israel from slavery and still others, have showed how much they had identified themselves with the theme, like the young people’s creativity.

Afterward, we moved on to the major and minor Prophets. Each youth group was asked what changes have been taking place in their community, what difficulties and challenges were they facing to follow and walk on the path of God. The answers were surprising: the modernity and internet, in one way they are of help, but they make to lose friendship with those who are near.
Then drugs, alcohol, different churches that challenge the proper faith, and friends who take us to the wrong path. The difficulty of children who are divided between presumed father and mother. Lack of resources to improve the lifestyle, suicide, sickness, the distance between communities… these are some innumerable challenges for the Ticuna culture.
During the moments of formation, going through the New Testament, the person of Jesus who wants to unite the humanity in one single family, where all are brothers and sisters was presented. The Kingdom of God is no more an alliance with only one people, but is open to all peoples, in all places and for all the time.

At the closure of three days of formation, one Biblical Marathon with prizes, animated and
motivated the groups.
The Parish of Belém of Solimões is in fact a center of formation for the Ticuna, mainly for the youth who are engaged in catechesis, in missionary visits, vocational journeys, in the celebration of the Word of God on Sundays, etc. It is like a bridge, which helps to cross the daily challenges of their journey as Christians. Then there are meetings like this, among the youth of different villages and parishes, to facilitate the exchange of ideas, of experiences and reciprocal enrichment.
To conclude in fascination, one lovely outing to the beach under the hot sun! Fathers, religious, and youth together, for a moment of relaxation and fraternity. Formation and fraternity that has characterized this meeting, with simplicity, has made alive and present the Word and has been made possible an experience of joy and fraternity.

Ir. Sunitha Pamula, Interprovincial Community of Santa Rita do Weil


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